Horschel wins playoff by inches at Byron Nelson
May 21, 2017
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
Billy Horschel captures victory in a playoff at AT&T Byron NelsonIn the final round of the 2017 AT&T Byron Nelson, Billy Horschel played steady down the stretch and defeated Jason Day in a playoff on the first hole to card his first win in nearly three years.
IRVING, Texas – News and notes from Sunday’s final round of the AT&T Byron Nelson, with Billy Horschel defeating Jason Day on the first sudden-death playoff hole. Click here for more from TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas.
A DIFFERENCE OF 4 FEET
No surprise that the AT&T Byron Nelson went into a playoff. After all, there have been 21 of them in tournament history, including the legendary six-man playoff in 1994.
But certainly there’s a surprise in how Sunday’s playoff ended, with world No. 3 Jason Day missing a 4-foot par putt that would’ve extended his playoff against Billy Horschel. Instead, the putt slid past the hole, allowing Horschel to win his fourth PGA TOUR event and his first since claiming the 2014 TOUR Championship and the FedExCup.
“Just hit a tad too hard,” Day said. “I had the first putt in regulation and it did a little bit of left to right – and just then (for the playoff putt) it went right to left.”
Horschel had a great chance to end the tournament with a birdie, but came up just short from 17-1/2 feet. He then tapped in for par and expected Day to do the same.
“Never want to win when an opponent like Jason misses a short putt like that,” Horschel said.
“Listen, I’ve missed a short putt not too long ago to lose a playoff. I know the feeling. You always want to win with a birdie on the last hole. It’s the way the game of golf goes sometimes.”
POSITIVES FOR DAY
Despite losing the playoff, Jason Day left TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas in a positive frame of mind. The runner-up finish was his best result since a solo second last year at the PGA Championship.
Although he wasn’t spectacular on Sunday, he did play steady. Perhaps not being able to birdie the drivable par-4 11th (losing strokes to his two playing partners, who did birdie the hole) or stubbing a chip on the 12th for a bogey will stick with him for a while. So will the inability to birdie the par-5 16th.
But his hole-out for birdie at the 15th from 78 feet over a greenside bunker is the spectacular shot he can dwell on.
“I only had one top-10 up until this point,” Day said. “To be able to play the way I did today, I played some good, solid golf.
“Obviously, it’s a little disappointing – but it’s not the first tournament I’m going to lose. I’ve lost plenty of other ones beforehand and I’ll lose plenty more in the future.
“I’ve got to try to get better from this experience and I feel good about my game. Everything is coming along nicely.”
SHOT OF THE DAY
Shot of the Day
Jason Day's difficult chip-in birdie is the Shot of the Day
NEAR-MIRACLE FOR HAHN
For most of the afternoon, the tournament was essentially a three-man showdown with Billy Horschel, Jason Day and James Hahn. But Hahn, the 54-hole leader, dropped off the pace and arrived at the 18th hole in regulation two strokes behind his playing partners.
All was lost, right? Well …
Hahn nearly delivered the miracle shot, his approach shot from 121 yards into the par-4 finishing hole spinning backwards and lipping out of the cup. He had to settle for a tap-in birdie that elevated him into solo third at 11 under.
Hahn used a 54-degree wedge on the shot. It’s a club he normally carries to 116-118 yards, so the yardage to the pin wasn’t good for him. He knew he had to fly it past the hole and spin it back. Thanks to an adrenaline rush, it almost happened.
“I knew I had to throw it back there,” Hahn said. “That was my best chance of making a 2 and getting into the playoff. Caught a lot of the hole. What can I ask for?”
Hahn, seeking his third win on TOUR, was undone by three consecutive bogeys on his back nine. Asked if he’ll dwell on that stretch more than his dramatics at 18, Hahn wasn’t sure.
“I’d like to remember that last shot,” he said. “It was really good to pull that off in the final group, 2 back of the lead. I hit a really good shot in there.
“Ultimately, there were too many mistakes that I made. To make three bogeys in a row down the stretch – I feel like I really didn’t deserve to win today.”
CALL OF THE DAY
ODDS AND ENDS
Horschel made a huge jump in the FedExCup standings, from 71 to 15 with the win. He already has his name on the FedExCup trophy once; he’d love to join Tiger Woods as the only two-time winners. “That’s honestly a big-time goal of mine to win it again,” Horschel said. Oh, and he could also use the bonus money. “I haven’t run out of that $10 million yet but I’d still like to have another $10 million,” he said. …
Dustin Johnson, the current FedExCup leader and world No. 1, had a largely forgettable weekend. He shot 71-69 with nine bogeys and finished tied for 13th. But he remains the FedExCup leader … Defending champion Sergio Garcia also had a forgettable Sunday, shooting a 4-over 74 after posting rounds of 65-64 the previous two days …
Web.com Tour grad Joel Dahmen shot a final-round 67 to finish T-9, his best finish in his nine starts on TOUR. He also got to play in the same group with Dustin Johnson. “I’ve never seen so many people on the second and third holes,” Dahmen said. “It was really cool out there.” …
Danny Lee tied for fifth, his first top-10 finish in 19 starts on TOUR this year. “Thank God,” Lee said. “It happened way too late than what I expected.”
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